Sock Coffee, Part One

Several months ago, I posted the following Facebook status:

Lauren Wiest just found her coffee sock! Yes, I brew coffee in a sock. No, it’s not ideal. Yes, my coffee pot broke. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, the sock is clean. No, I’m not preparing for the Apocalypse. Yes, you may come to me for sock-coffee making lessons in the event of nuclear warfare or worldwide coffee pot shortages.

The response was pretty enthusiastic. Sock coffee is apparently poised to be the next movement in hipster-land, and people wanted to know how it was done (because just making up the process on one’s own crosses the line into “hippie.” And despite the shared “hips,” the two are diametrically opposed. That must be an awkward relationship– like hating your conjoined twin).

I promised that I would post a tutorial at a later date. . .and “later date” in my life usually means, “sort of never,” especially since my roommate took pity on me and purchased a coffee pot shortly after she first caught me dabbling my sock in a large mug of water. But I take caffeination very seriously, and I want to make sure that everyone I know has access to legal stimulants; plus, my parents don’t drink coffee, so I knew that if I was going to enjoy the brew at all over the break, it was up to me and my trusty coffee sock to make it happen.

Unfortunately, my first trusty coffee sock met a grisly demise over my fall camping trip. I had brought it along for coffee brewing purposes, but as it turns out, the girls wanted nothing to do with a coffee-stained sock; and since we had forgotten a dishcloth, they ganged up on me and my hapless sock, stole my precious coffee conduit, and utilized it on dish detail for the remainder of the trip.

Let’s not dwell on the ethics of morality and hygiene that were so shamelessly violated during those moments, after which even I had to admit that any further use of the sock for coffee brewing purposes would be intolerable.

This fall to sock coffee plebeianism from the heights of sock coffee royalty grated the nerves, and I have only now come to a point of being able to find the silver lining of the situation, viz, that I can now walk all the little sock coffee disciples out there through the entire process of sock coffee making.

Before this moment, I had never had to go through the agony of choosing a coffee sock. I was recently asked from whence my original coffee socks had originated. Surely I wasn’t using my brothers’ dirty socks? “No,” I was forced to admit, “I use my friend Julia’s brother Stephen’s dirty socks.” May I recommend that if you are ever in a conversation and wishing it would end, you bust out that magical sentence?

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen my friend Jules or her brother Stephen for nearly a year, and my supply of Stephen’s socks, which was limited to begin with, has now dwindled to naught.

Therefore, when I decided to make sock coffee this time around, I had to beg, borrow, and finally (when neither of those yielded satisfactory results), steal a sock from my younger brother. It’s ok. He doesn’t read my blog. He never has to know. May we keep this just between us? Thanks. I can offer you sock coffee flavored with guilt and topped with a dollop of subterfuge in exchange for your silence.

Now, having finally gone through the overwhelming process of selecting the proper sock for my coffee, I feel qualified to help demystify the process for you.

Come with me, children, and we’ll make sock coffee ustas* out of all of you!

The first step to any good sock coffee (and hear me well, folks) is choosing the right sock. You may think any sock will do, to which  assumption I can only say an emphatic “No no no no no no no no no no.” And I know the way humans work; you’re going to try sock coffee using whatever old sock you have on hand, then will come running to me when it doesn’t work, complaining that it didn’t work and why in the world am I posting tutorials on subjects regarding which I am clearly no expert? (Of course, since we’re working with the most English-depraved generation to date, said complaints may sound more like, ‘Yo, L-Wie, ur so stoopid, u drink ur coffee outuva sock.’)

There’s no reasoning with logic that unintelligible.

Anyway, for those of you who play by the rules, allow me to guide you through the process of choosing a coffee sock.

1) Go to your (or your brother’s) sock drawer and pair up all the socks, if they aren’t already paired. Don’t tell anyone that you’ve taken the time to organize your sock drawer. That little tidbit of trivia is best kept between us, and far, far away from any potential hot dates.

2) Lay out all the unpaired socks in one depressing, potential-squandering line. Select all the non-patterned, un-dyed socks. It is from this group that your final choice will hail. I know that it sounds as though I’m trying to ruin your plans to have the fanciest coffee sock ever, thereby finally garnering the attention of Ms. Ashley Bimboface and culminating in your election as prom king, but I promise you that this is for your own good. Ms. Bimboface is like, totally not impressed by the sight of navy dye leaching into her coffee. If you can, avoid even the red stripes on the socks. You may be making coffee in a sock, but it never hurts to pretend you have standards.

3) Examine the weave of every contending sock; you want a hole-free sock with a very tight weave. I, for example, had to steal my brother’s sock because most of my socks have a holey design pattern along the top. My host mom purchased them for me during my semester in L.A., and at the time I reasoned that the holes were probably for the sake of ventilation. Interestingly enough, those socks are one of the most commented-upon aspects of my life. They are either entirely fascinating socks, or nearly every person in my life suffers from Interesting Small Talk Paralysis. Perhaps it is best not to analyze. The point is, choosing to make sock coffee in these socks would be injudicious, and I recommend that you, too, analyze your potential coffee socks for any holes, gaps, or fabric weaknesses through which wayward coffee grounds might escape.

4) Consider your sock coffee making needs. Are you a one-cup-a-day type of sock coffee drinker? A small, even baby-sized sock might be sufficient to hold your grounds. Perhaps you plan to brew sock coffee for a crowd, in which case you may want to scrap all your work thus far and start schmoozing the starting line-up of your local college’s basketball team.

You didn’t know choosing a coffee sock was going to be so much work, did you? Neither did I. But there is no point in brewing sock coffee if you do not lay the proper groundwork.

So your mission, sock coffee apprentices, is to rush to the nearest sock drawer and select your coffee sock in order to be prepared for the upcoming and long-anticipated sock coffee tutorial. (But there’s really no rush. It’s been so overcast here lately that photography is out of the question. By which I mean, “I’ve been so on break lately that anything that feels like work is out of the question”).

*Usta is one of the little orphan words of my vocabulary. I can never remember the language to which it belongs. It references a highly skilled person or master, and it may be English, Turkish or “8th grade boy.”

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3 thoughts on “Sock Coffee, Part One

  1. Apparently sock coffee is a real thing in Ecuador–meaning that they sell actual sock coffee makers in stores. No joke! It’s basically your standard little brother’s sock, but it comes with this nifty wooden frame, so you no longer have to scald your fingers while pouring the boiling water through
    If I knew how to insert a picture I would, but I’m pretty confident that your Googling skills are up for the challenge!

    1. What!!!??? Jules, we must skedaddle our little selves down the Ecuador to explore this incredible piece of culture! Although I kind of feel as though we would be selling out the whole idea and purpose of sock coffee in utilizing those devices–what say you?

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